Welcome to the fourth entry in my continuing series where I will give you the skinny on the good, the wretched, and the divine concerning what you should be drinking: rum.
It was currency in the Caribbean in the old days, George Washington demanded it be served at his inauguration, Ernest Hemingway lived off a diet of rum and shark flesh during his stint in Cuba, and now I'm here to help you navigate the top, the bottom, and all shelves in between concerning one of the world's greatest treasures.
Nothing fruity here, no flavored spirits to hide terrible production, or inept craftsmanship, just the booze. Feel free to suggest what you will for future installments and liquor representatives are more than welcome to provide me with your product concerning tasting and review.
Cruzan Single Barrel Estate Rum
Without doubt, this is the most innocuous rum ever. That is not to say it is without character, merely that this one blends so well as to not even know that it's there. You could almost trick people with this offering from Cruzan. Make someone you know doesn't like rum a Cuba Libre with the Cruzan Single Barrel Estate and they may just think it's a coke with some lime juice in it.
It's sweet, rich, and lingers on the palette. It is also heavy. Not what I would call thick--it has a very smooth texture--but it's so intense that drinking it straight makes me think it needs to be turned down a notch. Something about it's character is so dominate that you only really want a little bit at a time.
Verdict: Top shelf mixing rum… Yeah, I don't really know what that means either. It's really, really well made, but a little less barrel aging may be in it's favor when it comes to drinking it alone, that, or the strongest element in the blend needs to be removed. If you're mixing drinks and have the top shelf funds (which is just plain incongruous to me) this is probably your finest option.
Old Mount Gay Eclipse
This is easily the hardest rum of all I've had to talk about. As I said for Bacardi, “It’s rum.” Nothing more nothing less. It is a little easier to take straight than Bacardi as it is in my opinion a little better made, but it has even less character. It’s something better than a standard rum yet not enough so to justify the price of a 750ml bottle for what you could get you a handle of something else. Talking about this one makes me think of the many well made Vodka’s out there. The better the quality, the less personality the Vodka; so when Hangar and Square One max out at about $40, why would you pay more for some of the designer crap out there? Granted, Mount Gay Eclipse won’t run you that much but you’re gonna mix this one. You might as well use something that cost less. Even if whatever else you use isn't as well made; after all... you're mixing.
Verdict: A victim of it’s own quality. The absolute best, standard, nothing-special-about-it rum on the market.
Myere's Rum Original Dark
They aren't joking about the dark part, but the color doesn't really lead to and equally intense flavor. This one is hard to talk about. There are a lot of flavors; no one is stronger than another as to dominate. This is rum for a those who enjoying the age old sport of drinking for nothing more than the sake of drinking. (I have no doubt so many of my literary archetypes would love this rum.) You can't hide it's taste in a drink and the color is gonna come through and tint anything you mix it with a dark brown. I've been trying to write this one off as nothing special from the first sip but something about it stays with me.
I don't want to drink it straight as the flavors are too unfocused, and I'd never ask for it in a mixed drink because it's too pronounced. Yet I like it. I just wish I could tell you why.
Verdict: Worthy of a sample. I'd understand if someone said they didn't like it, but I bet they'd have a hard time saying what it was they didn't like.